Here's My Heart...

I love old hymns.  

"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"  is one hymn in particular that seems to reach deep down into my soul with its stirring words. Shaking me out of any spiritual laziness that I might be entertaining...urging me to go beyond just singing the words, but pondering them and allowing them to have a life altering effect.

Consider these vivid pictures that the authors' words create...  "Jesus sought me when a stranger wand'ring from the fold of God; He to rescue me from danger interposed His precious blood",  "tune my heat to sing Thy grace";  and "Let your goodness like a fetter bind my wandering heart to thee". He paints such a true and clear picture of what it is like to follow Christ , knowing full well the fallen nature of humanity, as well as the wonder of God's mercy and grace.

"Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" was written by Robert Robinson in the 1700's, who in his early years could be described, by modern vocabulary as a thug. At 17 he went to a meeting where George Whitfield was preaching.  His  sole purpose was to  heckle the attendees.  God had bigger plans. He ended up professing his faith in Christ as his Savior and spent the rest of  his life as a minister and a scholar, writing hymns and theological books.  What God can do with a fully surrendered heart!

This little piece of art has been in my heart and on my drawing board for aLONG time!  I wanted to visually interpret what my heart felt...I hope that you see how God wants us to willingly give Him our whole heart...no white knuckles hanging on for dear life.

Simply a joyful surrender from a grateful debtor.

Lilla Roger's Make Art that Sells...An Indelible Experience

I have been reading Emily P. Freeman's book "A Million Little Ways"...Uncover the Art you were made to live.  In it she quotes Steven Pressfield:

"Self-doubt can be an ally.  This is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration.  It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing and desire to do it.  If you find yourself asking yourself...'Am I a writer? Am I an artist?' Chances are, you are.  The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident.  The real one is scared to death."

(From "The War of Art")

As I stood on the virtual doorsteps Of Lilla Rogers Studio School,  with self-doubt as my ally and a dream that was bigger than any of my fears I embarked on the adventure of a lifetime...a five week course called Make Art that Sells©.  And what an adventure it was. Intense? Yes. Challenging? Absolutely!  Worth the investment?  YES, YES, YES!

WEEK ONE- Bolt Fabric

Every day of the week my fellow classmates and I would attend our virtual class where we would soak in Lilla's wisdom and experience.  She is captivating and her infectious personality created a warm and inviting classroom.

The first and most important thing that we learned is the importance of icons.  Monday mornings started with a mini assignment which entailed drawing lots and lots and lots of  icons...they are at the heart of making art that sells.  Peppers and vintage kitchen was our first mini assignment!

WEEK TWO- Home Decor

Each mini assignment would become the building blocks for that weeks main assignment.  The more time spent studying the subject  the more elements you have to work with.  By the time Wednesday came I had pages and pages of paisleys...these images were to be applied to a collection of ceramic plates...I made mine that I think a child would love to have!

WEEK THREE-Children's Books

This week was the one I anticipated and worried about the most. Leaving town early Thursday morning meant that I had only one day to complete the assignment.   On the class Facebook page I posted my "made in one day" project and asked advice from the Make Art that Sells © community of creatives as to whether I should submit it or not.  I was overwhelmed with encouragement and support!  As I reflect on the five week course one of the highlights was the community and camaraderie among the students.  The generosity of these folks to give advice, share ideas and help others was simply inspiring.

WEEK FOUR-Wall Art

By this time in the course we were filled to the brim with inspiration from Lilla.  Each week we were treated to inspirational interviews from industry experts, got valuable tips on everything from time management to how to get an agent, and a weekly Q and A session where Lilla answered questions from the class.  Priceless!  Lilla's regular encouragement to continually discover your style was something that I greatly appreciated.  

The assignment this week was to make a collage with an assigned color palette!  This assignment was soooo far our of my comfort zone.  My emotions were like a roller coaster and in all honesty I had moments where I contemplated not turning anything in (yikes!).  But I did...   

WEEK FIVE-Gift

The last week...it was so bittersweet.  Sweet because of all that was accomplished, but so sad to move on from this wonderful experience.  Not only did Lilla coach us in how to make art, but she also provided lots of thought provoking questionnaires that encouraged us to explore many areas, such as what makes us unique to assessing how our art fits in to each market.

As I write this...weeks after the class ended I would have to say that this class has made an indelible mark on my life...even my husband says it was the best thing I have done!  So, thank you Lilla...mentor, coach, fairy art Mother extraordinaire!

This weeks assignment was to create "hyper-lush" art inspired from things that we collect. This art is for a zippered pouch.

This weeks assignment was to create "hyper-lush" art inspired from things that we collect. This art is for a zippered pouch.

Source: http://www.lillarogers.com/school

Excel Still More

excel-still-more  

 

Sometimes I create art for fun, sometimes to challenge my skills but more often than not I create a piece of art because of something amazing

that I have read in the Bible.

In Paul's first letter to the Christians in Thessalonica  he closes it by encouraging them to excel still more in how they

live and please God.

As you continue on in the fourth chapter HE SAYS IT AGAIN.  Once is good...but twice says to me pay attention!  I get the idea that

Paul is saying,

don't get comfortable in your walk with God, strive to do extremely well....

every minute

of every day

until it is your last.

Consider this a little visual encouragement that in all you do...excel still more!

Spread your Wings!

    spread-your-wings

 

 

Do you ever try something that scares you to death, but do it anyway?  I did recently when I entered Lilla Rogers 2014 Global Talent Search...just global and talent used in the same sentence is enough for little old not very brave me to turn around and go the other way.

BUT I didn't (gasp)...figuring you can't win if you don't enter I filled out the entry form and waited with bated breath for the assignment to be sent to my inbox on August 5th!  I had no idea what to expect, so when that much anticipated email came I was a bit surprised when I clicked on the the link and typed in the password (with my heart pounding out of my chest) to find this...

Assignment #1 is to create wall art with the theme of ‘Little Terrariums’!

Little Terrariums,the glass jars that we all planted plants in in the 70's...interesting!  So I set to work, hoping to create art that would inspire and delight!  This quote "Spread your wings and let the fairy in you fly" became the centerpiece for my design...and I suppose that what I want to encourage with this piece is that sometimes we all just need to spread our wings (fairy or otherwise) and fly....the alternative is to stay trapped not fully experiencing all that life has to hold.  This reminds me of Isaiah 40:31...

Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength;  They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.

The creative process was full of high and lows and if am to be completely honest a few tears.  Just before I sent my entry off, I made my husband go over all the submission requirements with me just to have a little extra peace of mind that I did not miss a detail...then with a click of my mouse my little terrarium project was winging it way through the ether to Lilla Rogers!  I loved the challenge, the competition and how I felt that I have grown through the process.  50 Semi-finalists were chosen out of the 998 submissions...yes 998!  While I did not make it into the top 50 I am so glad that fear and insecurity did not keep me from spreading my wings and letting the fairy in me fly!

Go to www.lillarogers.com to see all of the entries, which are amazing and creative and just plain awesome!

Let it Shine!

Light shine art  

 

In every single one of us there is a light...for some it is just a little wisp of glow from a flashlight with a fading battery.  For others it is it may be something more like a beautiful chandelier that is made up of countless illuminated bulbs.  Either way they both break up the darkness just in a different way.  Be encouraged to know that your little light is a blessing to others, so don't hide it...LET IT SHINE!

Lesson From Gideon

 

Many, many years ago I was challenged by a co-worker to call into the local Christian radio station's daily Bible quiz.  Hoping to exhibit the depth of my Biblical knowledge by answering correctly and of course winning a fabulous prize I took the challenge!  Turned out the question was about Gideon, and the extent of my knowledge about him was limited to something about a fleece.   Needless to say, I answered the question incorrectly and the only thing that I came away with was a slightly bruised ego and an awareness of my woeful lack of understanding  of the Old Testament Judges.

With that distant memory, I was delighted when our the women at church would be studying the book of "Gideon Your Weakness. God's strength"  by Priscilla Shirer http://www.goingbeyond.com/biography . At last I would have an opportunity to find out what I had been missing!  While the lessons in Gideon are numerous, this is the one lesson that has really resonated with me.

Briefly, when we first meet Gideon he is threshing wheat in a cave.  In a cave?  Really?  Yes, he was working on his harvest in a cave where he hoped he would go undetected.  You see, the people of Israel had these enemies that for seven long years managed to plan their attacks just as Gideon the other farmers were harvesting,  leaving them devastated and without a harvest. His lack of courage caused him to seek refuge in a place that was quite unsuitable for the task at hand.  He was timid, afraid, insecure and hopeless.

Have you ever felt that the only solution to your trouble was to hide?

I do.  Way more than I really want to admit.  If I hide, then no sees my pain or failure or despair.

Back to Gideon...this is where the story gets really good.  An angel of the Lord meets Gideon in his hideout...and when Gideon finally acknowledges this angelic presence Gideon is greeted with the title O mighty man of Valor!  Say what?  God is declaring to Gideon just exactly how He sees him...not the way Gideon sees himself.  I do the exact same thing.  I dwell on my insecurities or fears (a.k.a. pity parties) rather than digging into God's word to be reminded of what He thinks of me.  While Gideon was hiding, God saw him as mighty, a fighter and a champion.  When I am afraid, God say Be brave I am with you (Joshua 1:9). When I feel like the biggest loser God says I am with you, I delight in you and rejoice over you with joyful songs (Zeph. 3:17). Pretty powerful!  In Christ, I am more than a conqueror...as Priscilla would say "A Mighty Warrior Princess"!

So, ladies...find the cave exit pronto adjust your crown!  Live like the Might Warrior Princess that you are!

 

Worth a thousand words...

  

I am really bad at words...well actually expressing how I feel with words.  My husband on the other hand is a word kind of guy.  He is very expressive, and I am usually the beneficiary of sweet words of encouragement and love.  I am blessed beyond measure!

So how does a "picture" kind of girl tell a "word" kind of guy just exactly how she feels?

With a picture, of course...being worth a thousand words I hope that I can express the depth of the feelings I have for my Valentine with this one simple illustration!

Valentine-I love that out of a ba-zillion yarns to choose from God in His infinite love and creativity thought that we would be the best together!  He could envision how perfectly my quirky,  multi-colored poly-cotton blend yarn would go with your sturdy 100% wool yarn.  He could see that woven together our best qualities would become intertwined making us the individuals He wanted us to become, both separately and together.

Valentine-I love that our hearts are knitted together as one...not being able to see where one ends and the other begins.

Valentine-I love that the stitches are neat and even, but that is only because we have had many years of practice.  Making mistakes, undoing the stitches that needed to be improved and getting better with each new row.  I am so glad that we keep on knitting!

Valentine-I love that like a blanket these knitted hearts provide warmth and security. This warmth and security has covered our kids throughout their lives and has provided for them a pattern that can be replicated in their own lives some day.

So, to my "word" kind of guy  Happy Valentine's  Day!

From your "picture" kind of girl.

What's in a Word?

   Happy New Year!

I am glad we are done with 2013...I don't have any specific reason, but I was relieved when the clock struck midnight and a new year was welcomed in.

Naturally because it is the new year there are countless discussions online and elsewhere about making resolutions and setting goals for this brand new year...have you made any?  I am not sure if this is a new phenomenon but I have been seeing many people sharing their word for 2014.  This one word represents to them a direction they want to go, a perspective they want to maintain or grow in...whatever that word is, it is their word that they hope will influence this coming year for them.

I loved this idea!  So many of the things that I struggle with are battled out in my mind.  Can you relate?  So, this one word could be like guard rails for my thoughts that help keep me on the path that the Lord has marked out for me.  Wow, this concept encouraged me to pray and ponder what word would the Lord have me focus on this year...where are those guard rails most needed?  I love to ask God something, and to be blown away by how He answers.  The word Assurance started swirling around in my mind, then before I knew it I was singing the beautiful hymn by Fanny Crosby  "Blessed Assurance".  OK so it is two words, but it is definitely the area that I would most like to grow in this year.  I love how she sums up the assurance we have in Christ in this stanza...as I meditate on MY words this year, this is what I will think about...

blessed-assurance

Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine!  O what a foretaste of glory divine.  Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood...lost in His love!

Blessed Assurance encourages me to consider only Christ.  Not my fears, not my failings...not my feelings. I have to say that I am excited.  I am looking forward to what this year brings and how I will grow in Blessed Assurance.

My prayer for you is that you will find a word (or words) that will challenge you throughout this year to grow and that maybe you too will be lost in His love!

A Tranquil Spirit

  

Tranquil-spirit

What comes to mind when you think of tranquility?  The dictionary definition describes it as a freedom from commotion, tumult or disturbing emotions. For me disturbing emotions sometimes feel like a cloud that continually hovers, pesters and infects my day, sometimes without mercy.

Can you relate?

Isn't it a wonderful blessing that we have God's word to help us battle the commotion and emotions in our lives?  The beautiful light of scripture is both purifying as well as exposing...as I have been finding during the women's Bible study at church.  The study is called Detox...and as you can imagine it conjures up all kinds of visuals.  Detoxing used to be for the drug addicted...now I can go to my local grocery store and find a myriad of products designed to cleanse my body from the strains of my bad habits.  But detoxing is also much needed for my soul as well.  Have you ever considered that bad habits of thought and feeling can build up in your heart in such a way that you can no longer live the life God intended?   So far in the study we have wrestled with things like our feelings of fear, our feelings of envy and feelings of inadequacy. The process sometimes feels like spiritual heart surgery...but one thing I know for sure is that Jehovah Rapha, my Lord that heals, is tenderly and expertly exposing my wounds for what they are, and most graciously giving me the strength to remove them from my life.

And being the visual learner that I am, I was inspired to create this piece of art, so that God's word would be etched onto my heart...the most effective bandage for a wounded heart and the perfect antidote for any further toxic build up.  The tranquil spirit comes from hungering and thirsting for God's word...it becomes a canopy of protection that revives our body (and mind).  But...There is always a but. Envy rots our bones.  Just think of what that would look like. Infection and decay destabilizing the very structure that is intended to hold us up and enables us to function.  When the lack of contentment  births all sorts of envy we end up in one festering, unattractive puddle.  Ick!

My prayer for you is that you would seek Him first!  Cultivate a spirit that is tranquil and serene, because your focus is on God, who IS only and always good!

Blessings!

Once upon a time....

  

giggles-art

Once upon a time in a magical and sunny kingdom called California a fair haired child was born.  She was called Kathleen...Kathy for short.  But it was her handsome Prince of a father who dubbed her Katy Ka Diddle Hopper...we don't know why for sure, but its sweet silliness suited the giggly little girl perfectly.

As she grew, she found that being silly was not the only thing to recommend her...but her drawing abilities were as well..  She drew constantly.  As in all the time!  She drew pictures...lots and lots of pictures and gave them away to all those she loved throughout the kingdom. As she grew, so did her love of all things creative.  So one day, she packed her bags and traveled to a land far, far away called Chico, where she learned many more things about being drawing pictures.

While in the land of Chico, she met her  Prince Charming.  They got married, had three of their very own sweet and silly children and are living happily ever after.  Although no longer a child, Kathleen still loved to draw. Especially she loved to draw pictures that are full of whimsy and delight...that puts a smile on the face of everyone that sees them.  She did not need a magic mirror or a crystal ball to know that the very best name ever for her art was Katy Ka Diddle Hopper.

 

Here is the non-fairy tale version...I was born in California and do have a Prince of a Dad who nicknamed me Katy Ka Diddle Hopper!  I have always loved to communicate through art and have drawn lots and lots of pictures over the years.  The Prince Charming and three kids part is totally true!  I have been working on my art business for the several years now...learning so much along the way.  The journey has had it's ups and downs for sure, and the funny thing is that "Katy" has almost taken on a life of her own...the art, the process the highs and lows are all bundled into one little cutie called Katy...it is like she is part of the family.  So, I spend my days creating art that I hope blesses you and makes you smile...because for me that would be a fairy tale dream come true

 

The Wondrous Cross

  

When I survey the wondrous cross 
on which the Prince of glory died,
my richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on 
all my pride.
See, from His head, His hands, His feet, 
sorrow and love flow mingled down; 
did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose 
 so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine, 
that were a present far
too small; 
Love so amazing, 
so divine, 
demands my soul, 
my life, 
my all.
 

I love the emotion and depth that Isaac Watts poured into this beautiful hymn.  He wrote it in 1707 while preparing for a communion service...written so long ago, yet still so relevant and powerful today.  

When I survey the wondrous cross, I am reminded of the human condition, well, my condition...I was an ungodly, helpless sinner and an enemy of God.  BUT, at the right time God demonstrated His love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

As I continue to ponder the cross, I think of  Jesus, although He was God, He emptied himself by becoming a man and being confined by human flesh that was frail and dying.  He humbled himself by becoming a bond-servant and was obedient to the point of death...even death on the cross. He willingly and lovingly took the sins of humanity and said I will pay the price.  He was punished, I was healed. When I survey the cross, I do not see a fashion accessory...I see an amazing reminder of divine love and sacrifice. God gave. How can I give any less than my soul, my life, my all.

My prayer is that you will consider the cross and be amazed.

Hello Spring!

  

Hello-spring

New life is springing up everywhere these days...where once the cold winter confines kept color and beauty under wraps.  It is an amazing blessing each year to be reminded that warmth mixed with a splash of rain here and there produces new life once again.  That the cold grey of winter must always relinquish it's hold giving way to cheery clumps of purple verbena, fresh blades of green grass and best of all wondrous patches of bluebonnets that herald in beautiful blue notes that yes indeed spring has arrived once again.

The seasonal impact on nature is very clearly mirrored in my own heart...even now it is still shaking off the hardness of  winters cold that revealed itself in sadness and disappointment.  But just as my garden so quickly responds to warmth and rain, so too does the soil of my heart. Kindness from a friend or a refreshing time in God's word softens my heart allowing seeds of truth and joy and beauty to flourish and grow...so that I may be a bloom filled blessings to others.

If winter still has a hold on you, please be encouraged to know that while the cold soil looks lifeless and hard underneath new life is readying itself ...being prepared for the right time to blossom.  It is the same way for us, that even in the darkest most barren times of our lives God is still very much at work, growing us and strengthening us so that we are prepared at the right time for His best work.

 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11